F1 winners and losers from 2024 Australian GP

Carlos Sainz was the popular winner of the 2024 Australian GP as Max Verstappen's shot at history went up in smoke

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Once again, Carlos Sainz proved he’s the ultimate streak-slayer in Formula 1 right now as he brought Max Verstappen‘s run of consecutive victories to an end in sensational style at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Incredibly, it’s just the fourth time in the current era of regulations that a Red Bull driver hasn’t featured on a grand prix podium, as Ferrari recorded their first 1-2 since the very first race of F1’s most-competitive era ever.

Lando Norris completed the podium but he doesn’t feature here, as McLaren were left with the feeling that second-place was on the cards if they’d played those cards right, while Oscar Piastri missed out on scoring the first-ever home podium in Melbourne.

Winner: Yuki Tsunoda

Sainz‘s victory was just the latest shock (on and off-track) in the 2024 F1 season that’s overshadowed Tsunoda‘s dominance over Daniel Ricciardo at RB. He’s outqualified him 3-0, and was only 0.007 seconds away in Bahrain from getting a clean sweep of advancing an extra session further than his teammate too.

Pace or talent was the never the question with Yuki Tsunoda, it was always consistency but he’s quietly improving that with every race and with it extremely unlikely that both RB drivers will be retained for 2025, performances like this will make the decision of who to keep a no-brainer.

Loser: Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during 2024 Australian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during 2024 Australian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

No long-winded analysis needed here: Max Verstappen was the heavy favourite to take a record-equalling 10th consecutive grand prix and didn’t, though through no fault his own.

But when you’re that good, if you’re not first you’re last. Sorry Max, but you’ll get them next time.

Loser: Sergio Perez

Usually with both of a driver pairing featuring in one category that team would be lumped in instead, but this is a rare case.

Indeed, Perez may have been the biggest loser from Verstappen‘s retirement because of the reputational damage – no one is blaming the Dutchman for his DNF and he already has the record anyway.

Verstappen may have had the same setup struggles as Perez and been unable to fight for the win but we’ll never know in the minds of most fans then he was nailed on for the win and Perez failed to deliver in his absence.

His qualifying was fine given the RB20 looks better in race trim, and when Perez overtook Fernando Alonso in his second stint he looked to be on a charge for at least the podium, but picked up damage in the process and still would’ve been a long shot for the win with a healthy car.

Verstappen‘s average finishing position since the 2023 Miami GP has been 1.05. Perez‘s has been 4.53, which isn’t good enough to step up when needed.

Winner: Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz admires the Sir Jack Brabham Trophy after taking victory in the 2024 Australian GP | Xavi Bonilla/DPPI / Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari will certainly miss this guy. Carlos Sainz may not have quite the limitless potential, the precocious possibilities of Charles Leclerc but over the last three seasons he’s shown that it’s not all about that.

Sainz seems to thrive more and more with every penstroke writing him off, perhaps in contrast to his teammate, and his gutsy (no pun intended) performances are all the more charming because of it.

It’s difficult to know how hard Sainz could’ve fought Verstappen if he had stayed in the race but the Spaniard’s manner of victory was actually quite Verstappen-esque as he barely featured on the TV coverage out front for most of the grand prix.

Sign him up.

Loser: Logan Sargeant

Logan Sargeant in a rare chance to get suited up at the 2024 Australian GP | Williams F1 Team

Objectively, Williams did make the right decision. It was an entirely performance-based decision and whether it’s Alex Albon scoring 96% of William‘s points in 2023 or Logan Sargeant‘s 24-0 qualifying deficit to his teammate, the stronger driver has been clear to see throughout their pairing.

Williams‘ staff put in such hard work to shave off the smallest fractions of a second off the FW46, to not give the team the best chance of points would’ve been a smack in the face to their efforts – but that doesn’t make it any better for Sargeant.

He saw his race weekend ended through no fault of his own, and the brutal decision didn’t even net Williams any points, as Russell‘s late retirement wasn’t enough to reward another strong performance by Albon.

Winner: Haas

Who would’ve seen this coming? Not only do Haas sit joint-sixth in the constructors’ championship after three races, they’ve featured in the Winners for every single weekend of the – Ayao Komatsu can make up his own mind on which means more.

Melbourne marks just their third double-points finish of the decade (they’ve only recorded 12 in F1 history) but while the VF-24 isn’t perfect, it’s a big improvement on 12 months ago and Haas are maximising their haul in the early season.

Both drivers to overcome the impossibly stubborn Albon in a race-long battle is a big achievemnt and yes, Kevin Magnussen got a stroke of fortune with Russell‘s late late show. But as a take on an old pro’s saying goes: ‘The higher up I run outside the top 10 the luckier I get with late retirements pulling me into the top 10’. Or something like that.

Loser: Mercedes

George Russell's Mercedes after crash at 2024 Australian GP | F1
George Russell’s Mercedes after crash at 2024 Australian GP | F1

Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and that applies perfectly here.

That rare Haas result was made possible by an equally unusual finish – or lack of it – for Mercedes, as both cars failed to reach the chequered flag for just the third time in the V6 era.

It was already looking like a disappointing weekend for the Silver Arrows before each incident though, Lewis Hamilton was out in Q2 and almost two-tenths away from the nearest non-Mercedes and his soft gamble failed to pay off.

And while Russell was the better driver all weekend, scrapping with Aston Martin outside the top five is far from where Mercedes will want to be especially in a race without Verstappen.

Winner: Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll during practice for 2024 Australian GP | Aston Martin F1 Team
Lance Stroll during practice for 2024 Australian GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

It took Lance Stroll until Las Vegas to make the Winners in 2023, so get the party started this time around!

Even before Alonso‘s naughty (or if any other driver did it, ridiculous), Stroll had consumately outperformed his teammate throughout the weekend – he was close in Q2, half a second ahead in Q3 and had a much better start to the race too.

It was only the free pit stop Alonso received from the virtual safety car that made him the lead Aston Martin but Stroll eventually got his deserved sixth place thanks to the Spaniard’s penalty, a nice bounce back from Jeddah.

These types of performances have tended to be a flash in the pan for Stroll but maybe this one will be a springboard to a better run of form…

F3

It’s a shame because the 2024 Formula 3 season has already been mightily entertaining – for the right reasons.

No driver has separated themselves at the top as rookie Arvid Lindblad made a blistering start in Bahrain but has been pegged back by Gabriele Mini, Leonardo Fornaroli and Dino Beganovic – all sophomores with a point to prove – while Luke Browning has to be the most likeable championship leader in motorsport so far this year.

But barely anyone is talking about that. Instead, Nikola Tsolov‘s spiteful, dangerous, brainless hit job on Alex Dunne was the video flying around social media and dominated headlines throughout the weekend.

The Bulgarian swerved off the racing line to deliberately knock Dunne into the wall in qualifying in an IDF-level scale act of revenge for impeding him the previous lap.

The three-place grid drop he received was quite simply an embarrassment to stewards.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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